The Vatican’s most influential female is coming to Australia

By Anita Sulentic, 19 December 2022
Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ. Image: Supplied


Sr Nathalie Berquart XMCJ will speak at events in Sydney in Melbourne

Sr Nathalie Becquart, the Vatican’s most influential female, is coming to Australia for a whirlwind tour in February 2023 and will be holding public forums and lectures in Sydney and Melbourne.

Recently listed on BBC’s 100 Women for 2022 list, Sr Nathalie is one of the most prominent and significant women in the Vatican. A French nun of the Congregation of Xavières, Sr Natalie was appointed by Pope Francis in May 2019 as Consultor to the Synod of Bishops. In 2021, she was again appointed by Pope Francis as Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops. She is the first woman to ever hold this position in the Vatican and the first woman to have voting rights in the Synod of Bishops.

At the time, she said that her appointment signified “confidence in women in the Church”, and Cardinal Grech, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops said that her appointment shows that “a door has been opened.” She has been instrumental in many global events including the Synod on Young People in 2018 and the Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region in 2019.

Sr Nathalie says: “As Pope Francis states ‘it is a duty of justices to fight against all discrimination and violence’ on women… Together, we need to support in any way to involve more women in leadership positions at all levels.”

Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ. Image: Supplied

Sr Nathalie is coming to Australia on the invitation of Br Mark O’Connor FMS, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Paramatta and Pope Francis Fellow at Newman College, University of Melbourne.

“Newman College has a long history of bringing out the best international speakers to Australia to inspire and bring people closer to Christ. The Dom Hélder Câmara Lecture Series at Newman College was named after the famous Archbishop of Brazil who worked tirelessly in assisting and defending the rights of the poor in Brazil,” said Br Mark.

“The lecture series are a source of hope and strength for all – clergy, lay people and non-Catholics. To have Sr Nathalie as our next international guest is a wonderful occasion, and we encourage all to attend.”

In Sydney, Sr Nathalie will be speaking as part of the “Bishop Vincent Presents” series at the Diocese of Parramatta.

“Sr Nathalie’s visit to Australia is the definition of a ‘whirlwind tour’. She has kindly given all her time to meet with as many people as possible and hold as many public events as each day allows,” said Br Mark.

In Melbourne for one day only on Tuesday 31 January 2023, Sr Nathalie will be hosting two public events at Newman College: a public forum at 2.30pm entitled “Walking together: what lies ahead on the journey to a synodal church” and the Hélder Câmara Public Lecture at 5pm: “Towards a Spirituality of Synodality”.

Sr Nathalie will also be in Sydney on Friday 3 February 2023 and will host the same events at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. The forum will be held at 4pm with the public lecture commencing at 7pm.

Places are limited for her free events in Melbourne and Sydney, so please register at Places are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. The public lectures will be livestreamed, but you will need to register to receive the link.


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